Cape rallies past Falmouth again
CAPE ELIZABETH—The rain was falling (sideways), the wind was howling, the action was at a fever pitch and no lead was safe.
In other words, just another Cape Elizabeth-Falmouth boys' lacrosse showdown.
Wednesday evening at Hannaford Field, the two-time defending Class B state champion Yachtsmen and the host Capers, the state's proudest and most storied program, produced yet another 48 minutes of memorable lacrosse.
Falmouth carried play early, thanks in large part to dazzling goalkeeping from senior Will Nash, who stopped 13 shots in the first half, and the Yachtsmen took a 6-4 lead midway through the third quarter, but that would prove to be Falmouth's high point.
Cape Elizabeth's offense then erupted for three goals in just over two minutes, as senior standout Alex Bornick tied the score and sophomore Griffin Thoreck, the hero of the teams' first meeting this spring, put the Capers ahead to stay. In the final stanza, Bornick and senior Jake Lynch added goals and Cape Elizabeth went on to a 9-6 victory, its sixth in a row.
The Capers got four goals from Bornick, held the Yachstmen scoreless the final 18 minutes, 39 seconds and improved to 7-1, essentially locking up the top seed and homefield advantage for the playoffs, while handing Falmouth its first loss in five tries, leaving it 6-3.
"This was the first year the seniors beat Falmouth both times, home and away," said Cape Elizabeth senior captain and defensive standout Adam Haversat. "It's a great way to keep us going. It's a lot of Heal Points. If we keep playing like this, we should have homefield, which would be great."
Falmouth won six of nine meetings against Cape Elizabeth from the start of the 2010 season through last year's regional final (please see sidebar, below), but it appears as if the pendulum has swung back the Capers' way.
Cape Elizabeth opened 2013 with a 19-0 blanking of visiting Lake Region. The Capers were then stunned when they couldn't hold a 5-1 lead at North Yarmouth Academy and were upset, 9-6, scoring just one goal in the game's final 34 minutes. Cape Elizabeth bounced back with an 11-10 OT win at Falmouth, on Thoreck's game-winner, then handled visiting Waynflete, 16-9, previously unbeaten Yarmouth, 7-5, host Greely, 8-4, and host Cheverus, 6-2.
Falmouth, the 2011 and 2012 Class B champion, opened with a 10-9 overtime loss at Yarmouth and after an 18-1 home win over Portland, fell in OT again, 11-10, at home to Cape Elizabeth. Falmouth got back in the win column, 10-2, at Lake Region, then earned a big dose of confidence with an 8-5 home victory over NYA. That victory kicked the Yachtsmen in gear and they proceeded to down visiting Wells (18-8), host Deering (14-4) and host Greely (12-3).
Entering the game, Cape Elizabeth hadn't beaten Falmouth twice in a regular season since 2005. While the Yachtsmen came in hot, they were playing without defensive standout Hugh Grygiel and the Capers, knowing they could essentially wrap up homefield advantage for the upcoming playoffs with a victory, rose to the occasion once more.
Two minutes in, Falmouth struck first, as senior standout Charlie Fay scored unassisted.
The hosts got on the board with 7:50 to play in the first quarter, when sophomore Noah Haversat pounced on a rebound and managed to do what none of his teammates could do in the stanza, beat Nash, to tie it, 1-1.
The Yachtsmen retook the lead, 2-1, when junior Brad Gilbert scored unassisted. Nash (five saves in the quarter) made it stand up and Falmouth had the edge going into the second period.
Nash was even better in that frame, stopping eight shots, and the Yachtsmen extended their lead.
After a long scoreless stretch, Cape Elizabeth did pull even on Bornick's first goal (unassisted) with 4:22 to play before halftime, but Fay scored unassisted with 2:45 left and 54 seconds later, Fay set up senior Kris Samaras to give Falmouth a 4-2 advantage at the break.
In the first 24 minutes, the Capers had a 25-10 advantage in shots, but Nash proved to be the difference.
Just 49 seconds into the second half, the Yachtsmen took their biggest lead, 5-2, when Fay set up junior Joe Dancos, who beat Cape Elizabeth junior goalie Gabe McGinn.
With junior Tyler Jordan dominating in the faceoff circle and everything seemingly going its way, Falmouth had a chance to go up even further when Capers senior Max Barber was sent off for 30 seconds for pushing with possession with 9:45 remaining in the quarter, but the Yachtsmen couldn't score and 32 seconds later, Fay was given a minute for a slash and an extra 30 seconds for conduct and Cape Elizabeth took advantage.
With 8:18 left, Thoreck scored unassisted man-up to pull the Capers back within two.
Then, with 7:25 to go, Bornick (from senior Cam Wilson) scored to make the score 5-4.
The momentum was short lived, as with 7 minutes showing, senior Brandon Negele was sent off for a minute for a slash and 21 seconds later, Gilbert (set up by junior I.V. Stucker) beat McGinn to push the lead back to two, 6-4.
If Falmouth didn't know how precarious holding a lead can be against Cape Elizabeth, it got another reminder and by the end of the quarter, was behind.
Again, penalties made the difference, as Stucker was called for holding and Fay received a minute for unnecessary roughness.
With 4:47 to play in the third, senior Justin Cary set up senior James Yokabaskas for a goal to cut the deficit to one.
Then, with 3:59 showing, Bornick (from Wilson) tied it.
With 2:32 to go, Thoreck scored unassisted and just like that, the potent Capers had rallied from a two-goal deficit to take the lead for good.
Twenty-five seconds later, Falmouth coach Mike LeBel sent Fay to the bench for the rest of the game, making any Yachtsmen comeback hopes that much tougher.
"(Charlie) was dominant earlier in the game, but he got sucked into a lot of things and got penalties," said LeBel. "I told him to sit down the rest of the game. I didn't want to lose him for the next game too.
"In the short-term, I didn't care if we lost. We wouldn't have caught (Cape) in the Heal Points even if we won. It's all about gaining knowledge and fixing what went wrong. I wanted to alleviate some of the pressure the younger guys were feeling. I want to win when it truly counts."
In the fourth, Cape Elizabeth put the clamps on the Falmouth offense.
"We could see they were getting tired," said Adam Haversat. "When they were expanding our defense, we sank in a little bit and made sure they didn't get cuts or the backside pass."
After nearly seven scoreless minutes,the hosts got some breathing room when Wilson set up Bornick for a goal with 5:17 to play.
"I think it was good decisions, passing and not forcing shots (that turned it around)," Bornick said. "There were a couple dumb turnovers, but not as many as we usually have, which is good. The defense got the ball to us and we held it to give them a break. We got Falmouth's defense tired. In my four years of playing Falmouth, although we've beaten then, we've never been ahead. As soon as we were ahead, I knew we were staying ahead."
A mere 39 seconds later, Lynch delivered the coup de grace, as Bornick found him in transition and Nash could do nothing about it.
Capers 9 Yachtsmen 6.
"It wasn't like last time when we were down 8-3, we were only down two at half," Haversat said. "Still, being two down was enough."
"We were a little bit better in the second half, or they might have been worse in the second half, I don't know," said Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond. "Defensively, we played pretty well pretty much the whole time. We over-committed a couple times and they have players who can get open and finish. We shot a little bit better in the second half. We weren't just shooting off the dodge, we were cutting off the ball and had shots where the keeper had to move. If we do that, we'll score on most of those opportunities. Most goalies struggle when they have to move and then make the save, instead of just staring it down. There were two times once we had the lead when we had bad possessions. The rest of the time, we killed clock and we were patient. It was a good playing-with-a-three-goal-lead offense.
'It's a great accomplishment. Win or lose tonight, the same as the other time, the kids worked hard and I'm pleased with the result. You can't fault anybody's effort or how hard either team worked. Both teams played well for the most part. It was a little bit cleaner, even when the weather came out, than the first time. I know Mike's not a big fan of the rain. He thinks every time he comes here, it pours."
Bornick led a balanced Capers' attack with four goals. Thoreck scored twice, while Lynch, Noah Haversat and Yokabaskas all had one goal. Wilson had three assists, while Bornick and Cary each set up one goal. McGinn made five saves.
Cape Elizabeth had a 49-38 advantage in ground balls, led by Adam Haversat's game-high 14. The Capers turned the ball over 19 times, but forced Falmouth to give it up 33 times. Cape Elizabeth outshot the Yachtsmen, 41-16 (29-11 on cage).
Falmouth got two goals each from Fay and Gilbert and one apiece from Dancos and Samaras. Fay assisted on two goals, while Stucker had one helper.
"I.V. gave it all he had and hustled," said LeBel. "He works the hardest. He knows what's required."
Jordan was superb in the faceoff circle, winning 14 of 18 opportunities (including 12 of the final 13). He also had a team-high 10 ground balls.
"Tyler was great," LeBel said. "He was mentored by Abyn (Reabe-Gerwig, the Yachtsmen's graduated faceoff specialist). But whenever you win that many faceoffs and have that many extra possessions, you should win the game."
Nash was transcendent, stopping 20 shots.
"Will did a great job," LeBel said. "He's really a pleasant surprise. (Former assistant coach) Chris Richards works with him from time to time and he's open to doing that. He gave us a chance to win. He played very well."
All in all, Falmouth did enough to be confident should it play the Capers again.
"We made some mistakes out there, letting up transition goals and stuff like that, but we did improve in areas they exploited last game, like 1-on-1s from their attack," LeBel said. "Our defense played very well on-ball.
"I didn't throw everything at (Cape) just to win tonight. We'll definitely see different things from each other if we play again. If we have our heads on straight, I have no doubt we can play with them."
While Cape Elizabeth-Falmouth Act III in the Western B Final June 12 would make for great theater, both teams face big hurdles in the interim.
The Yachtsmen hope to get back in the win column Tuesday, when they host York. Falmouth hosts Yarmouth May 24 and closes at NYA May 29.
The Capers look to extend their win streak to seven Friday when they welcome Western A power Kennebunk for an interclass showdown. After going to Fryeburg Tuesday, Cape Elizabeth plays host to NYA May 24 and closes at Yarmouth May 30.
"We have to keep working on throwing and catching," Adam Haversat said. "We've worked on our clears. We have a new ride we've tried out. Defensively, we have to keep putting pressure on because a lot of teams hate that."
"Homefield is important, but it means nothing if we don't come to play in the Western Maine Final," Bornick said. "If we lose then, we're out. This is a great win, but we have to come to play in that game. We expect to play them again. Beating Falmouth is great, but a win is a win. It doesn't matter who it's against, whether it's NYA, Yarmouth or Falmouth."
"(Homefield field is) important mentally more than anything else," Raymond added. "(Both we and Falmouth) have turf, so in theory, it doesn't matter, but it's always nice not to have to get off the bus, to have your locker room and not have to worry about racing somewhere. Kennebunk's worth a ton of points. If we win that one, it definitely seals homefield. NYA and Yarmouth will be great games. We'll have to really work, because we might see one of those teams again as well. We'll see what we did differently in the second half tonight than the first. We definitely still have a lot of things to still work on. Faceoffs, obviously. Transition offense still needs work."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.
Recent Cape Elizabeth-Falmouth meetings
@ Cape Elizabeth 6 Falmouth 3
Western B Final
@ Cape Elizabeth 11 Falmouth 7
Cape Elizabeth 12 @ Falmouth 5
Cape Elizabeth 8 @ Falmouth 4
Cape Elizabeth 10 @ Falmouth 3
@ Cape Elizabeth 8 Falmouth 3
Cape Elizabeth 12 @ Falmouth 2
@ Cape Elizabeth 13 Falmouth 4
Cape Elizabeth 13 @ Falmouth 2